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All about Dragon’s Teeth

 

Swiss Dragon’s Teeth. AKA “Toblerone” due to it’s similarity to the Swiss Chocolate Bar.

Howdy!

Today we’ll be discussing Dragon’s Teeth. Such a cool name for what is a pretty basic tank obstacle. Typically Dragon’s Teeth were truncated concrete pyramids that stood between two and three feet tall (60-90 cm) that were placed in rows of varying height in order to force tanks to move into predesignated fire lanes. However, dedicated engineers usually made short work of them, and they weren’t as effective as hoped for. That said, they’re cheap and easily made, so they were (and still are) used quite a bit. Historically, they were used in England when fears still persisted of a German invasion, as well of the Germans themselves in the Atlantic and Siegfried lines. They’re still used by the Swiss and the North Koreans in the Demilitarized Zone.

Do to their ad hoc nature and construction, there isn’t one standard for sizes or even shapes, but for most wargamers, the truncated pyramid is the shape most closely associated with Dragon’s teeth. There are some other shapes that aren’t completely uncommon.

Like a much less delicious Hersey Kiss Cookie. Dragon’s Teeth from the Alpine Wall.

Hmm, a lot of candy comparisons going on here. I should probably eat lunch.

 

Styles and Sizes:

Anyways, for this post (and associated YouTube video), we’re going to stick with the truncated pyramid style as seen on the Siegfried Line. From my research (period photos) it seems that there were usually at least three different styles in each stretch of Dragon’s Teeth. Starting at the side facing the enemy, there is a short asymmetric barrier with one side having a long shallow angle about 30″ (76.2 cm) tall (Style A).  Next is an equilateral pyramid shape that’s somewhere around 39 inches (100 cm) tall (style B), followed by a much taller quadrilateral Tooth standing around 46″ (117 cm) tall (Style C). There’s an even taller Dragon’s tooth in the picture, but it’s so far from the focus of the picture so we’ll have to well and truly guess at its size.

How’d I get these numbers? Through flawed science! Wikipedia states that Dragon’s teeth are “…90 to 120 cm (3 to 4 ft) tall depending on the precise model.” However, I found some pictures of Winston Churchill, Field Marshals Montgomery and Alanbrooke and General William Simpson walking through a portion of the Siegfried line.  According to the internet, both Churchill and Montgomery were 5’6″ (66″) (168cm) tall, which we’ll use to calculate the B style Dragon’s Tooth between them. We’ll go ahead and use the below picture as the basis of our models, as Dragon’s Teeth are different sizes depending on who’s placing them, and I would even bet on which areas there were placed.

Based on my ruler, an LCD screen and poor math skills, Winston is about 3.25″ (8.25 cm) tall, which gives a modifier of 20.3 to get to his actual height of 66″ (168 cm). The barrier comes up about 2 1/16″ (5.2 cm) on him, which comes out to 42″. Now yes, he’s a bit hunched and walking with a cane, so we need to remember that.  With Montgomery, ther barrier sits about the 2″ mark (adjusted slightly due to his standing in front of the barrier) and based on his modifier of 18.2 (height in the picture is 3.625″ or 9.2 cm) we get a height for the B style barrier of 36.4″ (94.45 cm). Averaging the difference gives us  about 39″ or 1 meter. Yay!

 

From that, we can extend our flawed science further! We can now use our Style B to (badly) extrapolate the style A and C Dragon’s teeth barriers.Looking again at the Churchill picture, just behind and to the left of the guard, we can see what looks like a Style A directly in front of a Style B. From that I get the Style A is about 30″ (76.2 cm) tall. The style C barrier looks to be about 3/8″ (.95 cm)taller than style B, which translate to about 6.8″ for a total height of 46″ (117 cm).

For Style D, I’m simply going to guess, but I’m going to say it’s 80″ tall or two meters.

So bad math height summery:

Dragon’s Tooth Style A: 30″ (76.2 cm)

Dragon’s Tooth Style B: 39″ (100 cm)

Dragon’s Tooth Style C: 46″ (117 cm)

Dragon’s Tooth Style D: 80″ (200cm)

Base sizes: This is a bit more difficult as most of the bases are obscured, but for the Churchill picture, it looks like the B and C styles are the same base size, with style C just taller. Using a spacing of 2.5 inches and our size of Montgomery, we left with a base size of about 45″. Style A is the hard one, it looks narrower than the other two styles, and there isn’t one in close proximity to our stalwart troupe.  If I had to guess, I’d say it/s 1.25x the base length and same base width.

Bad math base summery:

Dragon’s Tooth Style A: 56″ x 45″ (142 x 114 cm)

Dragon’s Tooth Style B: 45″ (114 cm)

Dragon’s Tooth Style C:  45″ (114 cm)

Dragon’s Tooth Style D: 80″ (200 cm)

 

Placement and Spacing:

The photo makes it look like there are five rows of teeth, with two staggered columns for each row. One row of style A, two rows of style B, a row of style C and a row of style D.  The left-right spacing looks fairly regular and using Montgomery again as our ruler, it looks to be around 65″ (155 cm) between the two rows of style B teeth.  That gives us something like 520″ (43′ or 13 m) for the entire width of the emplacement.  The top-bottom spacing is a bit more difficult to figure out, but we’re going to say it’s half the L-R spacing, or 32″ (77 cm) based on the below picture:

 

Scale:

To do these is true 28mm scale (1/56) for Bolt Action/Konflict 47 and really, any non-GW 28mm game, we’re going to convert them to get the proper in-game sizes:

Dragon’s Teeth Sizes:

Style A: 13.6 mm tall with a base of 20.4 x 25.4 mm

Style B: 17.6 mm tall with a base of 20.4 mm

Style C: 20.86 mm tall with a base of 20.4 mm

Style D: 36.2 mm tall with a base of 36.2 mm.

Spacing:

Left to Right: 29.4 mm from base to base.

Top to Bottom: 14.15

 

Gaming Considerations:

Most 28mm miniatures use a 25mm round base, or thereabouts, so to be able to move infantry models between all of the Dragon’s teeth, you’ll need at least 27mm between the teeth.

A lot of the above math could be done away with and just go with what looks right, but I was kinda curious to see how much I could figure out, and what it looks like on the board. Luckily most gamers won’t have very strong feelings one way or another on Dragon’s teeth, so “close enough” will probably be just fine here.

Modeling Considerations:

The A style can’t be done all that easily in Tinkercad, so I made it in Wings3D—which is a free program and one I plan on doing some tutorials on.  I’ll upload the STL file to Thingiverse (HERE!) for you to download and import into TinkerCAD.

 

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